The past two week have been very emotionally draining. We are a working farm. We produce our own food. In order for me to have bacon, I have to butcher a pig.
I write a post like this every year. If you have been around for a while, it would not offend me if you skip this post. I think it is therapy for me to write it. Part of farm life is butchering animals. It never gets any easier. Our family does not become numb to it. It is always difficult. This year we butchered a sow that had been on our farm for several years. We loved her. She was a 700 pound pet. Her name was Elsa. Elsa came when she was called. She loved apples, belly rubs and to “watered” with the hose on warm days. She acted more like a giant Golden Retriever then a pig. Elsa was getting up there in age and she was not able to have babies anymore. She was also slowing down. It was time. She was not sick, we think she was just tired. We had to choose to butcher her or probably end up composting her. We felt like butchering her was a better way to respect her life. Still did not make it easy. We cried. The night after she was butcher I was an emotional mess. I missed my princess girl! That was when I saw this article.
This is an article about the largest hog operation ever that is being built in China. The company will raise millions of animals a year, in a multi-level factory setting. Those hogs will have no quality of life! Never touch grass. Never feel the sun. Never eat an apple or have belly rubs. In an instant I remembered why we do what we do. It is difficult, but I know that the animal had to best possible life. After reading the article I was able to take a breath and have peace. This is why we do what we do.
Our hogs are not raised on concrete. They are raised in a field, with grass, mud and sunshine. Our animals are fed extra veggies from our garden, whey from cheesemaking and extra eggs from the chickens. The grain that they eat is locally grown and made from real grain, not by products or chemicals. If they are sick, they see the vet. We care for them the best we can. We are still learning. I pray we never stop learning and improving. At the end of the day, they are happy pigs. I can feel good about eating happy pigs.
What are you eating? Know your farmer! Grow on! God Bless!